HDR Salvage

By: Gustav Hoiland

Jun 20 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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Focal Length:35mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80
Not Good to Great – It’s Ugh to Eh

Today’s image is all about the wonders of post production work, using a raw converted (ACR) and Photoshop. I met recently with the professional photographer Brian Matiash (check out his daily photo blog HERE) who works exclusively with “HDR” photography – High Dynamic Range. Dynamic range is defined as the difference between the lightest and darkest point in a photo, or in any given part of a photo, and high dynamic range means there’s a big range between blacks and whites. It solves the age old problem of having blown out skies and correctly exposed ground, or beautiful skies and totally black ground.

While Brian normally shoots 9 images (one “correct” exposure, and then four that are too bright and four that are too dark), all on a tripod of course, the huge amount of detail captured by today’s cameras allow for HDR processing using only one image. In this method, many versions of the photo are derived from the original, and then combined and tweaked and whatnot. This is one such image of Brian’s that really caught my attention – CLICK HERE! There were other non-HDR alterations made I believe, but the essence of that image comes entirely from HDRing. Note – having a reputation as being an incredible HDR photographer can lead to well paid 2-week assignments aboard luxury sailing/cruise ships that travel the coast of Italy.

So I stumbled upon the original photo, that mess of a top photo where my face is awash in pure whiteness and other visual ughness. Using my raw converter, which does “global” edits AKA affects the entire image, I got it to the second image. That was more passable – I got the face to a place that I liked, but the suit and hair entirely disappeared. So I brought it into Photoshop, or rather I brought the first image, the second image, and a third version into Photoshop and… well, let some magic happen.

Don’t look too close or you’ll see all kinds of sloppiness, and don’t judge too hard because this was just me playing around with the’ol ‘shop, trying to figure some possible things to pursue further. Mostly I just like how it looks like I’m wearing a shiny gray suit. Also I thought about blacking out that weird white area on the right, but I thought it added some interesting quality to the image that would otherwise just be a person on a black background and nothing more.


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